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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Candidates Moore, Jones Make Final Pitches To Alabama Voters; White House Accuses Media Of 'Purposefully' Misleading Americans; Moore In 2011: Getting Rid Of Amendments After The 10th Would Eliminate Many Problems; NY Times: President Watches Between 4 And 8 Hours Of T.V. A Day. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired December 11, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back. Breaking news, top of the hour. We're just a few hours left before Alabama voters chose a U.S. senator. The final big events made truly consequential campaign. The choice certainly start (ph) Democrat Doug Jones, Republican Roy Moore. Moore, of course alluded (ph) in controversy accuse of sexually abusing a 14-year-old, sexually assaulting a 16- year-old. He denies the allegations. He's getting the support of President Trump and other conservatives, not, however, from the (INAUDIBLE) of the senior senator from the state Republican Richard Shelby.
More voters heard from Steve Bannon tonight. Charles Barkley weighed in for Doug Jones at a rally there. Kaitlan Collins is at the Moore event. Alex Marquardt at the Jones rally. We want to go to Kaitlan first.
So, Steve Bannon just spoke at the rally. What was his final message for Moore supporters?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Anderson, Steve Bannon has been one of Roy Moore's longest and most ardent supporters in this race, even sticking by him despite those allegations and he was at his last public event last week and tonight he was attempting to fire up the crowd to get out and vote tomorrow.
Now, Steve Bannon, who is from Virginia was telling this crowd here in Alabama tonight not to let someone outside of the state attempt to sway their vote, but he got the biggest cheers of the night when he brought up the Republican establishment in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: To Mitch McConnell and Senator Shelby and -- Condi Rice and all that -- all that little Bobby Corker, all that establishment up there, all that establishment up there every day that doesn't have Trump's back. You know they don't have his back at all. What they want him for is that corporate tax cut. That's all they wanted for. As soon as they get that tax cut, you watch what happens. There's a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now Steve Bannon seemed to be taking a direct shot at Ivanka Trump there, Anderson. Who as you know when these first allegations against Roy Moore came out said that, "people who prey on children deserve a special place in hell."
COOPER: How the Moore campaign feeling? I mean, heading into the final hours before poll is open, because he hasn't been out on the campaign trail, I think he said since last Tuesday. I don't know if that's a sign of, you know, them feeling really good or just wanting to avoid mistakes.
COLLINS: Anderson, it seems to be a level of confidence, because unlike Doug Jones, they have not been going door to door and meeting with supporters and knocking on doors. They've done zero public events since last Tuesday, which is highly unusual, especially the days leading up to an election that is highly contested as this here on the state of Alabama. But certainly something that Jones campaign has been taunting. They released some numbers today saying they've done hundreds of events in the last two months and knocked on 80,000 doors this weekend alone.
But right now, Anderson, the Moore campaign strategy seems to be laying low and letting President Trump do the talking here in Alabama.
COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much. I want to go to Alex Marquardt in Birmingham, where Jones event just wrapped up. Alex, what was Doug Jones' closing message tonight?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Jones campaign tactic has been exactly the opposite. As Kaitlan is mentioning, they've been beating down doors, they've been holding rally after rally. The message that we have been hearing from them could really be boiled down to four words, "get out to vote." He is pleading with people to go out to tomorrow and vote. He needs every single vote that he can get.
And the reason that so many Democrats in this states, some Democrats across the country are excited about this election is that -- it's the best chance they have for a Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in a quarter century.
Doug Jones just wraps up moments ago, but he said in speech that "this is the most significant election our state has seen in a long time." And he (INAUDIBLE) also as wanting Alabama to be on the right side of history, and that was a reference to the moment that this country's experiencing, the "#metoo movement," which of course Roy Moore has featured in prominently.
This notion that Alabama has been embarrassed by Roy Moore over the past 40 years with all the controversy swirling around him, it's been a major talking point for Doug Jones, in particular, in light of these allegations of sexual misconduct and child molestation. So, during the speech, Jones also took aim at the supporters of Roy Moore, including the president, though he didn't mention him by name, saying that so many people here in Alabama are essentially choosing a child molester over a Democrat. Here's what he had to say in the speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:04:55] DOUG JONES (D), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: We have heard so many people that have decided, you know what, I'm not going to worry about the fact that Roy Moore's been kicked out of office twice. I'm not going to worry about the fact that he took money from a charity. And you know what? I believe those women in Etowah County. But, you know what, my party is more important.
I will tell you folks, it is time, and I think we're going to see it tomorrow, that the majority of the people of Alabama say that it is time that we put our decency, our state, before political party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Now, like the Moore campaign, the Jones campaign is also feeling very confident. They have a pep in their step after this weekend of getting out the vote. This was always going to be a very tight race, but especially in the wake of these allegations it's extremely competitive, Anderson.
I was speaking with a senior campaign official earlier today who said that their internal polling indicates that they have the lead but they're taking nothing for granted, calling on every single one of their supporters to go 2out and vote tomorrow, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, Alex, they may think they have the lead in internal polls, but, you know, it's very possible people say one thing to pollsters and then do something else in the ballot booth.
MARQUARDT: Absolutely. Polling is notoriously difficult here in Alabama. And we have not been reporting on any poll which is why I was eager to speak to the campaign about that. There are a lot of people -- the senior campaign official today was telling me that -- in particular, African-Americans who will be so crucial to this election aren't keen to tell pollsters on the phone what they are thinking. But what the Jones campaign knows is that there are a lot of votes out there for the taking. They have been trying to go after moderate Republicans, specifically women who could have been turned off by these allegations against Roy Moore as well as that all-important African-American community, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Alex Marquardt, appreciate that. I want to bring in our panel. Gloria Borger, Robby Mook, Jack Kingston, Tara Setmayer, and James Schultz.
Gloria, I mean, obviously, it's -- I don't know, it's too close to call or just impossible to call at this point, but you could not have to -- more starkly different choices here. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, you couldn't. And, in a way, this is so much bigger than just one Senate race in the state of Alabama. Because you see with Bannon tonight, this is about a Republican Party that's been torn apart. You know, you have Steven Bannon and Donald Trump on one side, Mitch McConnell, who says this guy is going to be brought before the Ethics Committee the day he gets there, and even the Republican Shelby saying, you know, write-in a candidate, he says I couldn't vote for this guy. So you have a party that's split, you had the Democrats clearly trying to take advantage of this saying this is about values, allowing the Democrats to talk about these values for which their party stands, trying to keep those women voters and Republicans saying, you know, this is about draining the swamp and getting rid of, you know, getting rid of all of that in Washington that we hate. And, of course, in the end, control of the Senate, actually could hang in the balance.
COOPER: Robby, what's your take?
ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is bad for Republicans no matter what. It's just bad no matter what. If they lose this election, it's going to be like Scott Brown in 2009, the stench of death which, you know, has began to emerge for Republicans recently. It's going to get a lot stronger. And if they win the special election, Roy Moore's going to be sitting with them in the Senate, the (INAUDIBLE) of Roy Moore is going to be in the United States Senate.
This is a no-win. And I also -- I don't know how this is going to go, nobody does. And so, my hope is that everybody in Alabama gets out and participates in this. This could be very consequential in terms of the momentum moving forward but it's -- I don't see how Republicans benefit from this.
COOPER: Jack, do you agree it's bad for Republicans either way?
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's kind of a win- win or a lose-lose. I mean, you win the seat -- either way, I think the Republican Party is on (INAUDIBLE) -- I don't want to debate that. I think Robby makes a very strong point there.
But I think what Moore does -- have go and for him right now is philosophy, because Jones is out of step philosophically with the State of Alabama. And, I think the second thing is -- just a sheered (ph) numbers. And Robby you've been in the (INAUDIBLE) on these things but -- in Republican runoff, in the runoff which is really a lower turnout, 481,000 votes, and the Democrat primary, 165,000 votes. And how a lot of those Luther Strange folks are going to vote for third party. There's not all. We're going to get a Roy Moore but I don't see how he gets over there -- how Jones gets over that difference.
TARA SETMAYER, BOARD DIRECTOR, STAND UP REPUBLIC: When you talk about philosophy, in this race, I think it's illuminated a considerable problem. What philosophy is that exactly? Is a Republican Party now aligning itself with someone who believes that life was better with families under slavery? That believes that everything after the 10th amendment is no -- you know, no good, that was bad for the country? Which includes the, you know, equal rights amendment, women's right to vote. I mean, everyone knows the importance of the amendments after the 10th amendment. Which is it, is it the fact that he doesn't uphold the law? I mean, Republicans used to talk about activist judges, right? That was one of our things. We don't like these liberal activist judges. But Roy Moore has made a career of being an activist judge from the bench, deciding not to follow the Supreme Court. Where does that square with Republican philosophy?
[21:10:31] This guy is problematic all the way around and he represents, I hope, a very fringe element of the Republican Party in Alabama. And what does this become, it's become more of an us versus them than in actual political battle. It's about identity.
If you listen to the way everyone speaking, they're not really talking about actual issues per se and legislating and what a senator does and -- no, they're talking about our identity as Christians, an attack on our faith, an attack on the establishment. It's turned into some almost like a cultish kind of an us versus them that is really, really disturbing because it's staining the Republican brand for the long run given that they decided to support this guy.
2JAMES SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: And you just heard Steve Bannon and he doesn't care about the establishment Republican Party. As a matter of fact, he wants to tear it apart.
SETMAYER: He's right about it.
SCHULTZ: And he's using Roy Moore as a toll in this. And you've seen establishment Republicans now, including Mitch McConnell, capitulate a little bit to this because they're looking for votes for health care, to repeal Obamacare, to pass the tax cuts, to deal with the immigration issues and to confirm judges. And that's so important to what's going on in Washington in this get along -- the go along to get along politics that are going on there. That's what this --
COOPER: But it's interesting going after, you know, Jeff Sessions and Mitch McConnell, all of whom -- I mean I understand why they don't like them, but they are executing the President's agenda probably more efficiently than anyone else. I mean Jeff Sessions is making big changes at the Department of Justice that aren't making the nightly news talking about judges and Mitch McConnell is doing it on Capitol Hill.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But in doing that, he's putting himself on the side of Donald Trump because Donald Trump doesn't like Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump doesn't like Jeff Sessions, period. And so he's aligning himself conveniently with the President. You talked about the fringe. This isn't the fringe. This is the Republican Party. Because Donald Trump has an 80% popularity with Republicans. And so Bannon is aligning himself with Donald Trump because he wants to take over the Republican Party.
SCHULTZ: And Donald Trump got elected on -- in places like Pennsylvania with hard-working Democrats across -- in states Pennsylvania -- in state of Pennsylvania who are out of work. And that's who Steve Bannon trying to appeal to here.
SETMAYER: The fringe I was referring to are the people that are excusing the awful behavior of Roy Moore and subscribing to his philosophy. I don't think that part represents the majority of the Republican Party. What's happening in Alabama I think is a fringe element because of how extreme Roy Moore is. He was unfit before the sexual misconduct allegations were established before -- way before that, he was already unfit.
But the fact that it's -- that's not a factor anymore. That's the part that's concerning for me.
COOPER: On CNN today, Lindsey Graham said that he wouldn't rule out trying to expel Roy Moore if he takes into the Senate. Do you actually believe Republicans would follow through on that?
SETMAYER: No, I don't think they have the backbone to that that.
JACK KINGSTON, (R) FORMER GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: I don't think the Democrats do.
SETMAYER: It's going to be tough.
KINGSTON: I don't think they really have a case. Frankly, I don't think they had a case to get Al Franken. I think Al Franken -- and by the way, it's interesting to say they actually -- that was on. But he could very easily switched parties and become an independent and say, you know what, you guys turn your back on me, I'm still elected U.S. senator.
SCHULTZ: It gives Congress a real role in setting the policy on how they expel -- how an expulsion proceeding would take place and the grounds for that expulsion proceeding. To date they've -- they have not taken on a expulsion proceeding when it's been conduct that's happened before the -- when the electorate knows about what happened and then he went --
ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is where it is a lose, lose either way. This reminds be so much of 2006. Remember, all the scandals and all the Republicans had time to do was talk about how they were treating their colleagues and their scandals. You've been unpopular president, the Congress isn't getting anything done. This is the why I'm saying this is all headed to a very bad place --
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We'll continue the conversation just ahead.
Also the inside story that's getting so much attention not just for the Dozen Diet Coke the President reportedly drinks, which we mentioned last hour or all the cable T.V. he watches for 48 hours putting the "Times", but for everything else, it says about this President and a presidency unlike any we've certainly ever seen before.
[21:17:13] COOPER: As we continue to report on late developments in Alabama, we want to focus on how reporting has become a story in and of itself lately. CNN made a mistake last week on a story and corrected it. "Washington Post" reporter made a mistake in a tweet on Friday, not only took down the tweet, apologized personally to the President. ABC's Brian Ross got a story wrong, his network suspended him. Those are facts and not easy facts for anyone in this business to swallow.
The President however seems to believe that these mistakes are something more. CNN Jim Acosta asked Sarah Sanders about it today's White House briefing.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I would just say, Sarah, that journalists make honest mistakes and that doesn't make them fake news. But the question that I have --
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, when journalists make honest mistakes, they should own up to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do.
SANDERS: Sometimes. And a lot of times you don't.
SANDERS: I'm sorry. I'm not finished.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
SANDERS: There's a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people, something that happens regularly. You can't say -- I'm not done. You cannot say --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- completely fake, Sarah, and he admitted it.
SANDERS: You cannot say that it's an honest mistake when you are purposely putting out information that you know to be false, or when you're taking information that hasn't been validated, that hasn't been offered any credibility, and that has been continually denied by a number of people, including people with direct knowledge of an instance.
This is something that --
SANDERS: I'm speaking about the number of reports that have taken place over the last couple of weeks. I'm simply stating that there should be a certain level of responsibility in that process.
SANDERS: Brian, I called on Jim.
ACOSTA: This is not the line of questioning that I was going down, but can you cite a specific story that you say is intentionally false, that was intentionally put out there to mislead the American people?
SANDERS: Sure. The ABC report by Brian Ross. I think that was pretty misleading to the American people, and I think that it's very telling that that individual had to be suspended because of that reporting. I think that shows that the network took it seriously and recognized that it was a problem. Jim?
ACOSTA: Sarah, if I may, I was going to ask a question about something else.
SANDERS: You used it on something else. Jim? We're going to keep moving, guys.
ACOSTA: Sarah, if I can ask about the president's accusations --
SANDERS: I'm moving to a different Jim. I'm sorry.
ACOSTA: I know, but I didn't get a chance to ask the question that I wanted to ask, which is --
ACOSTA: Let me just say once and for all, whether these accusations --
SANDERS: Jim, I'm going to say, once and for all, that I'm moving on to Jim Stinson, and I'm not taking another question from you at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Is it clear to you, Gloria, how Sarah Sanders has any credibility when it comes to lecturing news organizations about facts and honesty that -- I mean when responsible news outlets make mistakes like CNN did on Friday, they apologized and they tried to correct it as quickly as possible. This White House -- I have not heard this White House admitting a mistake at all.
[21:19:57] In fact, I mean, I remember early on a number of stories, the early briefing by intelligence leaders of the president or the president-elect about the existence of this dossier, a story which CNN broke which they were calling fake news and went off on this thing and never admitted, oh, actually they were wrong.
BORGER: Right. And how about the size of the inaugural crowd on day one?
COOPER: Right, they perform the commission on -- or, you know, the millions --
BORGER: Three million --
COOPER: -- of illegal immigrants voting and --
BORGER: Exactly, exactly. I think that it flows from the top down, you know. This is a president who doesn't admit mistakes ever, doesn't apologize ever. This is something that we in our profession take very seriously.
COOPER: He did apologize for the "Access Hollywood" tape. We should point out.
BORGER: Yes, that was the one time actually. You're right. You're absolutely right. And I think that for Sarah Huckabee Sanders to say that we as journalists go out there and intentionally mislead people is not understanding what we try to do.
COOPER: What I don't get about that is even from a business -- even if you don't believe just ethically that would not be something we would want to do or ever do, just from a business standpoint that is not a good business --
COOPER: -- model.
MOOK: Breitbart.com. I mean I think some people who claim to purvey news are lying. But I mean I completely agree with you. The idea that the White House has any sort of high ground on telling the truth is absurd. I do feel for journalists these days, things are getting broken so quickly all the time. Some people do rush too quick. And I actually admire that this week I think people were held to account for that.
But I think this is part of a pattern by the President. We saw this with Steve Bannon. They always have to undermine everything. They point to something, called the establishment, get you to hate it and so that they can always be fighting the power structure. They can always be in opposition to something because they won't take responsibility. The President will not take responsibility for his job or getting anything done.
BORGER: And the press is a good enemy to have.
COOPER: Hey, Jack, do you have -- you heard the White House say that they made a mistake on anything from the podium?
KINGSTON: Often, I don't know that they have. But I think one of the frustrations that this White House has -- and I suppose any White House does, is that the press won't cover some of the good news that's out there. The ISIS territory that -- this now back in friendly hands, that's a big story.
KINGSTON: It's a huge story.
COOPER: We have correspondent there and we --
KINGSTON: And I'm not saying CNN, I'm talking about in general. You know, same thing with the economy. I mean the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years is a huge story. The economy, five trillion new dollars injected in the economy through growth in the stock market, investments, consumer optimism at a high -- all-time high, or illegal immigration going down, those are good stories.
And I think this discussion for our society is a good one because I think that as society has found itself in bunkers, you can follow whoever you want to on Twitter and quit following them. I think that the press has sort of reflected that. And it's difficult because, you know, we can all go to a particular area that we like to be with, you know, in terms of what news we're going to read. And I think it's not something you could say it's the White House, it's the politicians, it's the media, it's all of us and I think we all share in this.
SETMAYER: Well, let's be honest here. This is a specific tactic that Donald Trump is using to undermine the most important mechanism to hold him accountable which is the fourth estate, which is the media, which is the free press.
So when you undermine the credibility of the most important mechanism to hold public officials accountable and you create this feeling that it's a fake news, that it's not real, that they're out to get us, you can't believe them, it inoculates him with his supporters of any accountability. So when he does manipulate and use propaganda tactics, which are -- it's pretty textbook propaganda what this White House does. And then he goes out there and he just says things that are just blatantly untrue or cannot be verified, then he can turn around when you call him on and say, oh now, it's fake news.
So to watch Sarah Sanders with that level of righteous indignation from that podium, lecture the media for making mistakes but they admit them, actually sit there and say that the media, that we're intentionally putting out false news when this White House and the president of the United States intentionally lies about things all the time.
Look at the things -- the reason why, Jack, that the White House doesn't get the kind of positive news coverage they deserve on something on these accomplishments, is because the President undercuts his own message almost every day. Instead of talking about how great the economy is and everything, he is tweeting attacking Don Lemon on CNN or attacking "The New York Times" or he's tweeting out fake news attacking Muslim -- attacking Muslim videos like he did last week and never apologized for that, every day.
KINGSTON: But that's just -- and that still become a press story.
COOPER: We can't remember all those like weeks that -- are going to be, there was like infrastructure week.
[21:25:02] BORGER: Right.
SETMAYER: That's right.
COOPER: And every time the President would start off the week, go on -- off on some other tangent and totally avoid what was supposed to be the message to the White House which --
SETMAYER: Because he doesn't care. He has no impulse control.
MOOK: I actually agree with Jack's overall point. I think in general -- and I think Jack's right, it's as consumers who are driving this. We don't support enough, I would argue, news that really informs us --
COOPER: Well, I totally agree with that.
MOOK: I think the tax bill is a perfect example. But this is -- the President is in large part to blame for this. He is the one who puts the shining objects. He is the ones who -- the one who distracts us.
SCHULTZ: You talked about -- you and I agree on a lot of things, Robby and that's the -- on this one is that the -- you talked about Breitbart. Breitbart clearly has its own agenda. The left-leaning media does the same thing. And a lot of times the mainstream media just picks right up on it without questioning it, runs with a story, and gets themselves in trouble because they're in a rush.
MOOK: I just wouldn't compare Breitbart to anything on the left right now. I'm sorry. It's just not true. It's not a hateful news organization. It doesn't --
KINGSTON: Well, you didn't have to sit in the White House --
MOOK: It doesn't teach people to hate other people for how they were born. It doesn't teach people to hate other people for being born gay, for being born as a person of color. I'm sorry. It is a fundamental difference. I get right, I get left, all that's true which is exaggerations but not hate.
KINGSTON: I probably read more "Huffington Post" than you do, and I am disgusted by their bias. I got to tell you, just as you --
MOOK: It is a left-leaning outlet. I draw the line at hate. And Breitbart pedals hating other people --
MOOK: And it's unacceptable.
BORGER: And let me say one other thing about the press, which is that Donald Trump needs someone to fight --
SETMAYER: All the time.
BORGER: -- whether it's Hillary Clinton -- this is how he defines himself by his enemies. So whether it's Hillary Clinton or the fake news media or naming journalists or it's --- he just cannot survive. There's no oxygen for him unless he's in the center of the ring. And so sometimes it's the press, even when we say we made a mistake.
COOPER: We've got to get a break. And when we come back, the latest statements from Judge Roy Moore surfaced over the weekend, comments from 2011 saying that eliminating every amendment after the 10th would help government function. Somebody said that to him. He said he -- that's where a lot of the problems have come from. His campaign is saying he doesn't actually believe that he wants to eliminate all those amendments. We'll hear from Professor Cornell West on that idea, next.
[21:30:03] COOPER: Even before allegations of sexual assault came to light, Judge Roy Moore already held a lot of controversial positions. We've highlighted many of those on this program, derogatory beliefs about homosexuality, Islam evolution, just name a few. But this weekend, others have come to light, that includes comments from 2011 when Moore appeared on a conspiracy-driven radio show. He was -- the host of that show, said they're getting rid of all constitutional amendments after the 10th would eliminate problems in the way the U.S. government is structured. He seemed to agree with that. Just a reminder that would include the 13th amendment which outlawed slavery, the 15th to eliminate the racial restrictions on voting, the 19th to give women the right to vote.
Earlier, I spoke with Cornel West, professor of Harvard Divinity School and Princeton University for his take. Here's that conversation.
COOPER: Dr. West, these comments from Roy Moore back in 2011, the idea of eliminating the amendments after the 10th amendment, I mean is that an appropriate position for a guy who wants to become a senator?
CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, I think we see very clearly the combination of the wheel, the stupidity on the one hand and the wheel to dominate on the other. That's would happen when the vicious legacy, the white supremacy and male supremacy come together. You get to hate to the people of color on the one hand and the hate to the women, we get that gays, lesbians, trans, bisexual on the other. You get persons who want to go back to a white supremacist, male supremacist civilization. We know 13th, 14th amendment had to do with abolishing slavery, it had to do with civil rights, he wants to live in a civilization in which what is normal is based on lies and what is natural is based on domination. It's a very sad affair, but its important thing to know, my dear brother Cooper is that, we don't want to isolate Roy Moore, that he does represent a significant slice that's growing in this society. These are Neo- fascist tendencies taking place means spirited callousness wholehearted in indifference and we encourage and we reward that callousness and indifference too often.
COOPER: So, you're saying -- you don't want to isolate, it does seem like we're living in this age of more than ever of tribalism and politics, a people retreating to their sides, pretending what the other side is saying has no basis in fact at all sometimes or saying it's completely fake. And even if kind of thinking or maybe believing, maybe this person I'm supporting is not a great person, they're part of my tribe and I'm going to support them.
WEST: And it comes from the top. It comes from the top. You know, you got the White House reinforcing this kind of callousness and indifference. (INAUDIBLE) this white supremacy but not only that but to rule the big money, and rule the big military.
And so, I think the important thing is to recognize there is a sense in which, sadly, Roy Moore, Donald Trump are as American as apple pie, but Martin Luther King, Jr. is as apple as -- is as American as apple pie. So as Dorothy Day, so as Rabbi Heschel. So we're seeing this drama, this clash means spirit in this tribalism on the other hand, universal quest for morality and spirituality then at the moment is losing out but we shall bounce back.
COOPER: Well, I want to ask you about that because, you know, just last week, former President Obama talked about referencing Pre-Nazi Germany, essentially saying, you know, we're in this nice auditorium, this nice hall, there's an art on the wall, you can't imagine that things can go backward, but just look what happened in Germany, they did go backwards, obviously, I'm paraphrasing what he said. Do you believe that we are at a point in history that is that dangerous? That is that potential of going backward in very significant ways?
WEST: Absolutely. I mean, it all hit like gangsters that he was. He result it from Democratic process that where decaying, that were undergoing unbelievable decadent degeneration. And that's what we're experiencing today in the United States, American democracy, the American empire, the levels of decay and decadent of spiritual blackout, of meltdown, unbelievable, and the only response we have is to fight back with the sense of morality, spirituality, sense of honesty, integrity, and decency.
COOPER: Dr. Cornel West, thanks for being with us.
WEST: Thank you, my brother. Happy Holiday to you.
COOPER: Up next, a behind-the-scenes look inside the White House and the way President Trump has made it unique as the president conducts with the report in "The New York Times" calls an hour-by-hour battle for self-preservation. Next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[21:38:03] COOPER: New report from "The New York Times" gives us an inside look at how President Trump is handling being leader of the free world that involves a lot of television, according to "Times". He reportedly watches four to eight hours of cable news each day and even keeps the T.V. on mute during some meetings. "The Times" reporters write, "Watching cable, he shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or for one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day."
Overall, the article characterizes the presidency as an hour-by-hour fight for self-preservation. According to "The Times", the presidency sees it different, write and quote, "Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals." Back now with the panel.
It is a fascinating way to think about a day, I don't know if it's good for running a White House, I mean do you think he actually believes?
SCHULTZ: I think the T.V. piece is just silly. And there's not a White House staffer -- didn't there, doesn't have a T.V. on the background the entire day you're there seeing what's going in the news media --
COOPER: But he does tweet about television stuff that it just aired.
SCHULTZ: OK. That means it's on, on his office in the background while he's in there doing work and there's not person, again, in the White House who doesn't have that on --
MOOK: Or on Capitol Hill.
SCHULTZ: Right or in Capitol Hill. Such as silly, and we're talking about how many diet cokes he has, a guy blew himself up in the New York City that we're talking about the president drinking 12 diet cokes, who cares?
SETMAYER: The president didn't tweet today about what happened in New York City today. He was too busy attacking CNN this morning. So, again the president is the master of his own future here. Look, it's clear --
KINGSTON: I just want to get on record he's drinking a Georgia product, so how can that be --
SETMAYER: Well, and there you go.
COOPER: I will also point out as someone who is winning themselves of a diet coke, 12 diet cokes is a lot of diet coke and not very healthy thing.
SETMAYER: Well, can I have --
COOPER: -- one who used to drink a whole lot of diet coke.
MOOK: Here's my question, this --
MOOK: Well, his health report is supposed to come out. I am fascinated to see what happens, the McDonald-Lewandowski report on to cokes. You know, when he put out a health report on the campaign it was either bogus. I'm fascinated to see -- I don't see how this man is healthy.
[21:39:59] BORGER: I want to know how much caffeine is in those diet cokes because that maybe why he gets five hours of sleep at night while he --
COOPER: But he's never gotten a less sleep.
COOPER: From, I mean all the --
BORGER: No, but notoriously.
COOPER: But James, I mean you worked in the White House, in "The Times" piece, I'm wondering the overall tenure of it, did you feel it was accurate, did you feel it was, I don't know, what do you think?
SCHULTZ: I thought it was, damn, not surprising for the most part. I think most of it was accurate, the fact that he drinks a lot of diet cokes, who cares. The fact that he has a T.V on the background all, who cares. We all know that he uses Twitter to drive his message. What's news about any of this?
SETMAYER: What about the fact that he doesn't, you know, mousy on down to do work until 9:00 or 9:30? I mean, President Bush was up at like 5:00 A.M he was already working out. And he had intelligence briefings by 7:30 in the morning.
SCHULTZ: -- up 5:30 in the morning.
SETMAYER: Yes. I mean, he's working propped up on his pillow, tweeting, watching "Fox and Friends" every morning. I don't know.
KINGSTON: I don't know of a president who's worked harder, I really don't know.
SETMAYER: You mean on the golf course?
SETMAYER: On the golf game?
KINGSTON: Everywhere, every venue is his office. I think everywhere.
COOPER: Wait a minute. That's what every president -- is that -- and he has played a lot of golf. I mean, for somebody -- and I only bring this up because on the campaign trail he repeatedly talked about how he would never play golf and he was going to be too busy.
KINGSTON: But, you know, but I think when he's playing golf or when he's in Mar-a-Lago, the guests he's with they're all orchestrated to a purpose. And I don't necessarily know what there is. But I know --
MOOK: Tiger Woods.
BORGER: But I think there were -- go ahead.
MOOK: Well, I was going to say I agree with all that, but here is the big problem. It's all about him. It's not about getting things done, it's not about helping other people, it's not about advancing other people. It's about him. I thought that quote, it was brilliant. Every day he's vanquishing rivals. That is the purpose.
BOGER: And I think this is man, if you read "The Time" story through, this is a man who is trying to figure how he can lead in the presidency the way he lead at the Trump organization. And you cannot do it, because you have to be responsible not only to the American people, but to members of Congress.
You can't fire members of Congress. So he's had a hard time because his nature is authoritarian. He wants to be the CEO of the country, but he can't just give orders and say, OK, the health care bill, well, let's pass that. He can't do it because -- and he is frustrated by it.
KINGSTON: Well, yes I know. But let me say this --
BORGER: And that's why he's frustrated with the press.
KINGSTON: -- like him a lot. But I can tell you a one senior chairman, the other day I was talking to him, and he said, you know, Trump is 21 percent in my district above everybody else, above me. The congressman --
BORGER: So he can fire the congressman is what you're saying?
KINGSTON: No. What -- the purpose is -- the point is he's enormously popular with Republican --
KINGSTON: -- based voters. And let me say this. Also, I didn't really think that it's good that the EPA director is doing what he's doing. Are the other cabinet members that, you know, he's putting out there that they're supposed to do less regulation, the keystone pipeline, we don't ever talk about that. Keystone pipeline. You know Obama fought it for eight years and now it was approved in Nebraska the other day. And we were talking about something that was the equivalent of diet of Coke. Something is -- he -- again, unemployment, 17-year low.
SETMAYER: OK. Jack we get all that, but the president doesn't understand the confines and the limitations of the presidency and how to utilize those things to get his message out and focus on policy. He is so uninterested in actually governing. That is why this is a problem. So what if he's 21 percent? You know what, --
KINGSTON: The economy is doing great. If Obama had this economy, he would have -- Hillary would be president.
SETMAYER: If the president was discipline in understanding that and stop worrying about his own personal brand everyday. Then you would guess that positive.
BORGER: No, I don't think it's the diet Cokes. Honestly, I don't think you it's the diet Cokes. I think you have a serious Russia investigation going on this country about the Russians hacking into an American election. And you have a president who says that it is a witch hunt and that the Democrats are only doing it because they can't get over the fact that they lost.
I think that that is a serious issue in this country to which all of us should pay attention including the president. And so, I think you're right, Jack, give the president all the kudos on keeping the economy humming. I might ask why you need a tax cut at this particular time. But to give you all the kudos on that. But there are serious issues that confront this president, and that preoccupy him, by the way, Russia is one of them, that need to be talked about. I mean, I do think.
MOOK: But yet here we are talking about Donald Trump and his habits. It is amazing. It is amazing.
KINGSTON: This is the way it was. And Robby, you know well. During the campaign Hillary would make a big announcement about the economy, or something nobody would care because it would be about something Donald Trump --
MOOK: It repeats something happens --
[21:44:58] KINGSTON: But think about North Korea. He's absolutely very engaged to that. He's been engaged in getting the U.N and China involved with North Korea. I think he's done a real good job there. He is interfacing the --
BORGER: But he's not selling that.
SETMYAER: That's right. BORGER: He is not selling that, Jack. You are. But he's not.
MOOK: Well, a rocket man comments, I mean, this is another example where we just continually undermine his own progress with, you know --
MOOK: -- these seemingly uncontrolled tweets. I don't think that was strong diplomacy --
SETMAYER: Well, he's playing a character on T.V. He was a reality show character before. And he's approaching the presidency the same way. And that's -- not good for the country.
COOPER: Let's take a break.
Coming up, how Alabama voters view the sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore, the ones he denies.
Also, whether the comments he's made on other issues will affect their vote tomorrow. We'll be right back.
[21:49:54] COOPER: Our breaking news. Alabama U.S Senate candidates Roy Moore and Doug Jones each holding their last campaign rallies tonight. Tomorrow is voting day. For weeks, Republican Roy Moore has face allegations of sexual assault, dating back decades. He has denied the allegations. There are also several controversial comments he's made about gay and lesbian people, transgender people, slavery and President Obama.
Our Gary Tuchman talked with Alabamians to see if any of it will impact how they vote. Here is what he found out.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The tiny community of Gallant, Alabama is where Judge Roy Moore lives. Jet pack is a nearby gas station and convenience store.
(on camera): Are you concerned about the allegations against him?
STEPHANIE SPURLIN, ALABAMA VOTER: No.
TUCHMAN: How come?
SPURLIN: Because I'm sure, you know, probably more than half of this world has done something inappropriate some the time. God forgives everybody.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Roy Moore is popular here in Gallant, as well as nearby Gadsden, the larger city where he was born and served as an assistant district attorney.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm voting Roy Moore 100 percent TUCHMAN (on camera): OK. Why do you like Roy Moore so much?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly, he's an incredible Christian man.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But his popularity here doesn't mean supporters aren't doing some rationalizing.
(on camera): Tell me why you like Roy Moore.
MAURICE BROWN, ALABAMA VOTER: Well, I don't want to see a Democrat get it. That's really the only reason.
TUCHMAN: What do you think of the allegations against him?
BROWN: Well --
TUCHMAN: Do they trouble you?
BROWN: Yes, they do trouble me.
TUCHMAN: But you're still going to vote for him?
BROWN: I'm still going to vote for him.
TUCHMAN: Because it's more important to not have a Democrat there?
BROWN: I think so. I really think so.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Lost in much of the discussion of the sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore and his denials are controversial statements he has made in his past. We asked a mother and daughter about that, the mother voting for Moore, the daughter not.
(on camera): Roy Moore said on a radio interview years ago, and he's never taken this back, that homosexual conduct should be illegal. When you hear that, as the man who you're going to be voting for, does that trouble you?
SARAH CLEVENGER, ALABAMA VOTER: I honestly agree. Homosexuality is biblically wrong. It is wrong. But I have -- I know people who are gay.
TUCHMAN: He said it should be illegal, though. Do you feel that way?
CLEVENGER: I can't answer that.
TUCHMAN: But do you -- if you could pass the laws, would you agree with him, that it should be illegal?
CLEVENGER: I don't think I would take a position on that.
TUCHMAN: What about you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
TUCHMAN: As the daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It should not be illegal.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): As recently as last year, Judge Moore continued to stand by previous statements that Barack Obama is not a natural- born citizen. This husband and wife are voting for Moore.
(on camera): How do you feel that he's still saying that Barack Obama wasn't born in this country?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't -- I don't even think -- I guess it never crosses my mind. I think politicians say things all the time that are controversial. And I wouldn't recommend saying that, because I find it hurtful or it goes against our country.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then there is this statement.
(on camera): Roy Moore said earlier this year during a campaign event, when asked when America was last great, "I think it was great at the time when families were united, even though we had slavery," referring to the mid-1800s.
TIM BURNETT, ALABAMA VOTER: Right.
TUCHMAN: How does that make you feel?
BURNETT: Very sad. You know, I'll be honest, disappointment. You know, for him to feel that -- I mean, to say something like that it must something that was instilled in him.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This voter, Tim Burnett, is not voting for Roy Moore, but most of the people we talked with in his home county said they will, no matter what comment he's made or no matter the assault allegations against him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd have -- I didn't see it with my own eyes. Until I see it with my own eyes, I don't believe anything.
COOPER: Gary joins us now. So the people you read Roy Moore's, you know, Moore controversial statements to, had they heard them before?
TUCHMAN: For the most part, Anderson, the people we talked to weren't familiar with the exact quotes, but nobody we talked to was surprised or shocked. They know Roy Moore's reputation. That being said, if Roy Moore wins this election and is in the U.S. Senate, his words will be scrutinized much more closely, not just here in Alabama, but the other 49 states, too. Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman, thanks very much. It's been a long day.
Coming up, something to make you smile at the end of the day. "The Ridiculist" is next.
[21:57:28] COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist" and if you don't want to hear an uplifting story about one of the most ridiculously adorable kids in Chicago and perhaps all the land, turn the channel now, because it's about to get extremely cute up in here.
Once upon a time there was a boy, his name is Caleb, and he read 100 books last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CALEB GREEN: My name is Caleb! I read 100 books last night!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Caleb, four years old, set a goal to read 100 books. What did you do this weekend? Caleb's dad admits to being kind of skeptical, at first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYLUS GREEN, FATHER OF CALEB: I was like, a hundred, son? I was like, that's a lot of books. So at first I -- you know, had the gut reaction to kind of talk him down a little bit. But he was like, no, I want to read a 100.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And read a 100 books he did. The project had a temporary snag (ph) when the family realized they didn't have quite enough books, but friends stepped in with reinforcements and the pint-sized reading marathon continued.
Our affiliate WLS picks up the next chapter of the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As Caleb started to read out loud, his folks decided to stream it on Facebook live. The post got a couple thousand views from people as far away as Florida. Every time Caleb finished 10 books, he did a dance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is actually remarkably similar to the dance I did when I finished reading a prayer for Owen Meany. Hang on, I lost my train of thought. What is the boy's name again and what did he do?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
C. GREEN: My name is Caleb! I read 100 books last night!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Caleb's binge reading adventure has inspired everyone who has heard about it, including his dad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
S. GREEN: I learned to just dream bigger and just try to -- I'm going to try to set an unrealistic goal for myself this coming year and I'm going to just be inspired by Caleb to not quit on it and just push through it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Me, too. Now that he's read 100 books in a day, you may wonder, what is next for Caleb?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
C. GREEN: I want to be a basketball player when I'm 22. I want to be an astronaut. And when I'm 23, I want to be a ninja turtle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We have no doubt that by the time he is in his mid-20s Caleb will indeed be slam dunking on the international space station and also doing whatever it is that ninja turtles do. And that's what we call one for the books. Way to go, Caleb.
Thanks for watching "360". Time to turn it over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts now.